Thought coconut oil was the healthy choice? Think again

In recent years coconut oil has been hailed as a one-stop wonder pot for pretty much everything.

Moisturise your skin, conditioner your hair, whiten your teeth – is there anything this stuff can't do?

Many of us have also taken to using it while cooking as a 'healthier' alternative to some of the other cooking oils on the market.

However, a new health advisory published in the US suggests that there are no significant studies to support the claim that it is better for us.

According to The American Heart Association (AHA), coconut oil is made up of 82 per cent saturated fat, which is known to increase bad cholesterol levels.

Lead author of the advisory and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, Frank Sacks say the media is to blame for shaping “public perception about saturated fats.”

He adds, “One of the real problems in transmitting health information is that generally people who are writing about it don’t look into what’s come before.”

“The media also don’t pay much attention to new studies that support or extend current dietary recommendations.”

“The overall effect has misled the public on the science of dietary fats.”

Maintaining a high ratio of good to bad cholesterol is key when consuming saturated fats, and according to scientists, coconut oil simply doesn't fit the bill.

Frank continued, “I just don’t know who is pushing it, but it’s not scientists."

“It may be driven by manufacturers looking to profit, or some countries’ economic dependence on coconut oil.”

However, if you are looking for a healthier oil to use when cooking, Frank recommends canola oil which contains relatively low amounts of saturated fats (7 per cent).